Equal rights for temps damaging for business

Employers are concerned that a draft EU directive to give temporary workers
the right to the same remuneration and benefits as permanent staff will create
more red tape for companies and damage the UK economy.

The directive on agency workers, which is being opposed by the CIPD and the
CBI, could lead to temporary workers being entitled to equal pensions and
holiday provisions and other benefits such as health insurance and share
schemes.

The CIPD claims the directive on agency workers would undermine the
flexibility of the UK’s labour market.

"Agency workers allow employers to rapidly meet changes in business
demands and staffing crises. Also, temping is a useful route into work for the
unemployed and young people, and provides versatile employment for people who
do not want to tie themselves to a permanent job," said CIPD employee
relations adviser Diane Sinclair.

"The EU proposals are wholly inappropriate for the UK. They will
restrict flexibility without significant benefit to anybody."

Sinclair called on the Government to resist the proposals and lobby for a
practical approach that protects flexibility for workers and employers.

Susan Anderson, CBI director of HR policy, said the directive would create
more red tape for both companies and recruitment agencies and she pointed out
that other countries in Europe do not provide comparable pay between temps and
permanent staff.

In Sweden, for example, there is equality of pay for temporary staff working
for the same agency, while in France agency staff are paid at the company’s
trainee rate she said.

The draft directive on agency workers was due to be published on 27
February, but it has now been delayed until March. It will then go to the EU’s
Council of Ministers for discussion. If outline proposals are agreed, it will
then go to government officials in member countries.

By Ben Willmott

Feedback

Tim Nicholson, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment
Confederation:

"Member states of the EU have reached different stages of development
in terms of temporary workforces. In regulatory terms, one size will not fit
all and temporary workers cannot be treated exactly the same as permanent staff
– their terms and conditions have to reflect the unique relationship between
worker, agency and hirer."

Diane Sinclair, CIPD employee relations adviser:

"The EU proposals are wholly inappropriate for the UK. They will
restrict flexibility without significant benefit to anybody. Agency workers
allow employers to rapidly meet changes in business demands and staffing
crises."

TUC general secretary John Monks:

"The TUC welcomes any proposals that grant new rights to temporary
agency workers to ensure they are equally treated compared with those doing the
same job. Lack of access to training results in lower skills while lower pay
damages the motivation and inevitably leads to lower productivity."

Comments are closed.